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Fil-Am R’Bonney Gabriel makes history for bagging Miss USA 2022 title

By Rayven Daligcon Published Oct 04, 2022 3:04 pm Updated Oct 12, 2022 6:24 pm

R'Bonney Gabriel makes history as the second Filipina-American to hold the prestigious Miss USA crown, following Macel Wilson in 1962.

Born to a Filipino father and Texan mother, Gabriel represented Miss Texas in the competition which concluded with a grand coronation night at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada on Oct. 3, Pacific time (Oct. 4 in the Philippines).

The 28-year-old model and fashion designer holds a degree in fashion design from the University of Texas. She currently owns eco-friendly clothing line, called R'Bonney Nola, which is based in Houston. 

In addition, the beauty queen works as a sewing instructor at Magpies & Peacocks, a nonprofit design studio that upcycles discarded materials into brand-new garments and designs.   

Gabriel further proved her fashion design skills with her Miss USA interview outfit, which she designed herself. In an Instagram post on Oct. 3, the entrepreneur-artist said that she designed the ensemble to pay tribute to her parents who got married in Manila. 

"I hand painted the same flower design from my mother's wedding dress onto my sleeves and tied in a traditional Maria Clara Filipina collar shape. I have immense gratitude for the opportunities my parents provided me and wanted to express my love to them through this," Gabriel wrote in her post.

She competed in the preliminary competition of the pageant over the weekend and left a promising performance that won the hearts of the pageant's judges and her supporters all the way to the finals night.

Apart from bagging the coveted Miss USA title, Gabriel was also awarded Best State Costume with her intricate outfit created by designer Patrick Isorena inspired by the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet.

Gabriel defeated over 50 candidates, including two other contenders with Filipino blood: Miss Hawaii Kiana Yamat and Suzanne Perez of New Mexico. Gabriel was crowned by the outgoing queen, Miss USA 2021 Elle Smith.   

Gabriel is set to compete on the Miss Universe stage alongside fellow Filipina contestant and Philippines' bet Celeste Cortessi on January 14, 2023, in Louisiana, New Orleans, USA.